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President’s Corner

Louise RyanGreetings! This is the first of eight President’s Corner contributions I will be privileged to write during my term as President of the Society. I am deeply honoured to have been elected as IBS President and I will do my best to serve you.

My first task is sincerely thank our outgoing President, Elizabeth Thompson. Elizabeth has set the bar high in terms of dedication, passion and attention to detail. Over the past year and a bit, I have been part of weekly phone calls with Elizabeth and others from the Executive Team, particularly our Secretary/Treasurer Brad Biggerstaff and our Executive Director, Peter Doherty. Every week there seems to be a dizzying list of topics to address, all urgent of course! Elizabeth has been a master at keeping us to task and making sure nothing falls in the cracks. Not being so great with details myself, I am constantly astonished at Elizabeth’s ability to keep track of all the different threads that contribute to the successful running of our society. I have learned a huge amount from her about how the Society runs and will be happy if I do half as well as she has in terms of keeping us sailing smoothly ahead. I have also quickly learned the value of drawing on the wisdom of previous Presidents, particularly John Hinde, Elizabeth’s predecessor.  He has already been the recipient of many emails from me, questioning this or that, and I’m sure he will receive many more!

I also want to sincerely thank our outgoing and incoming members and Chairs of our Committees, our Council and the Executive Board. If you haven’t done so already, take the time to go to the IBS website and look under the “About IBS” tab to learn more. We rely on the hard work of our six standing and three ad hoc committees to do things like approving budgets, searching for new Journal editors, administering our awards programs, planning our IBC meetings, putting together the slates for new officers and much, much more.  There are so many people who deserve our gratitude that it is hard to know where to start! Our most recent Biometric Bulletin listed and thanked all our outgoing committee members. I’d like to also thank our outgoing Chairs and welcome the new ones! Iris Pigout (German Region) has just been elected as the new Chair of Representative Council, taking over from Andrea Berghold (Austro-Swiss Region), whose term on Council has ended. Kathy Ruggiero (Australasian Region) has ably served as Chair of our Communications Committee, while KyungMann Kim (ENAR) has taken over as the new chair. Satoshi Hattori (Japan Region) is taking over from Andrew Zhao (China Region) as Chair of the Conference Advisory Committee. Hans-Peter Piepho (German Region) will take over from Esa Läärä, (Nordic/Baltic Region) as chair of the Editorial Advisory Committee. Annette Kopp-Schneider (German Region) will take over from Pascale Tubert-Bitter (French Region) as chair of the Education Committee and Martina Mittlboeck (Austro-Swiss Region) will take over from Marinus (Rene) Eijkemans (Netherlands Region) as Chair of the Budget and Finance Committee. Thankfully, all the outgoing Chairs have agreed to continue on as regular committee members, which will be a big help to our new Chairs. Our Awards Committee is the only one where the Chair did not change and I thank Dan Kajungu (Ugandan Region) for his willingness to stay on in the role. Kathy Ruggiero is also taking on a special role to help our Society develop a stronger social media presence. You’ll hear more about that soon. But Kathy has some real talent in this area. She was the one who created that fabulous little video celebrating the IBS’ 70th birthday (check out https://www.biometricsociety.org/2017/09/celebration-of-ibs-70th-anniversary/ in case you missed it).  Kathy and I have been talking and emailing about all sorts of ideas regarding ways to enhance our IBS profile via channels such as Facebook, Twitter etc. If you have an interest in this area, please get in touch with me or Kathy.

I would like to call out a special mention of the work of our Education Committee over the past year or so, as they have planned and put in place our exciting new Journal Club initiative. Sessions are taped, so check them out if you haven’t had a chance to participate live (https://www.biometricsociety.org/education/journal-club/).  Those of us in various Asia/Pacific regions have not really been able to participate easily due to the session times. As much as I might want to, I just cannot motivate myself to get up for a 3am session! We hope to see this initiative expand and grow. Particular thanks to Jim Todd for all his hard work in coordinating this effort

I wanted to take the opportunity in my first President’s Corner by talking about an issue that has affected and upset many of us, namely the various recent reports about the sexual harassment that some young female statisticians have experienced. Thankfully, we’ve not had any specific reports of harassment at IBC conferences or regional meetings. Sadly, however, this doesn’t mean that it hasn’t happened. In her social media post “Statistics, we have a problem”, Kristian Lum talked about how poor behaviour of some senior people in our field has in the past been implicitly tolerated as an “open secret”. I suspect many of us know exactly what she means. Kristian is absolutely right that it is time for us to be publically and openly appalled and this means explicitly calling out and reporting inappropriate behaviour when it happens. Like many other societies, IBS is still grappling with the best way to respond to the issue and we will continue doing so. Most definitely, however, I encourage anyone who has experienced or witnessed harassment, whether based on gender or ethnicity or anything else, to address it immediately.  Anyone who experiences harassment at any of our Society meetings should get in touch with officers from their region or from IBS central. We take the issues very seriously and are committed to helping make sure such things are no longer tolerated.

Thinking about the issue of harassment leads to thinking more generally, and perhaps more positively, about the importance of diversity. I like to think that in the biometry and biostatistics areas, we have done pretty well in terms of fostering gender and ethnic diversity and I wrote about this a couple of times during the past year.  However, we can and need to do better. Not long ago, Professor Michelle Yvonne Simmons from the University of New South Wales was selected as Australian of the Year for her ground-breaking work in quantum computing. If you get a chance, listen to her wonderful acceptance speech (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRle7TXasuYP) where she talked about the value of diversity in science. Really inspiring. She makes the point that science benefits and people benefit when we have a strong and diverse workforce.

I’d like to share with you an experience I had at a recent mathematics conference. I had actually posted this on Facebook and got a lot of interesting and thoughtful comments as a result, so I thought it might be useful to share with a broader audience. This was not a conference I would normally attend, so I didn’t actually know a lot of people. Also, being mathematics rather than statistics, there were far fewer women than I was used to.  At an evening reception, I was talking with two senior male colleagues that I did happen to know.  While we were talking, another senior male walked up to them, wanting to introduce an overseas male visitor who was attending the conference. My colleagues greeted the visitor, then introduced me. Without even looking at me, the visitor shook my hand sideways and continued talking with my senior colleagues. I was momentarily shocked and even stunned by the experience, since the visitor’s behaviour clearly communicated his assumption that I was not a person of interest. Now as it turned out, I was a keynote speaker at the conference so there was actually a little bit of humour in the situation.  But I found it very interesting to evaluate my own reaction. Because I am, ahem, older now, I have developed a fair bit of resilience and I don’t really care all that much, at least for myself. But even so, I found myself somewhat shaken by the experience and it took several hours back in my room to feel settled again. I found myself even repeating old scripts in my mind about women not being as good at mathematics as men and started to lose some confidence about my keynote address scheduled for the next day. Stepping back from it, even just a little, helped and gave me some interesting perspective. If I as a keynote speaker at the conference, a well respected senior person in my field, president of an international society, etc, can have my confidence shaken by such an experience, imagine the effect on a much younger woman just starting out in her career. Colleagues, male and female, from ethnic minorities have reported similar sorts of experiences and have also described the demoralising effects of repeated dismissive experiences. I would like to challenge all of us to resist doing what the conference visitor did, namely judging based on face value. Every person we meet is worthy of attention and who knows, they might be a future or current superstar!

Wrapping up this particular President’s Corner, I’d like to talk briefly about some of the things I hope to achieve as your President.  As you may have gathered from the last couple of paragraphs, I am a passionate advocate for diversity, not just in terms of gender, but also ethnicity, religion, country of origin, skin colour, you name it. Within the Society, we also have a wide diversity of scientific interests, ranging from the medical and health world to agriculture, fisheries, forestry and ecology. The world is a better place when we embrace each others’ differences and learn from our different perspectives. I know that Charmaine Dean, Program Chair for IBC 2018 in Barcelona, has worked hard to achieve a rich and diverse set of invited sessions.  I most certainly kept diversity in mind as I was putting together the Committee Rosters for 2018/19. So one thing I would very much like to achieve for IBS is continued progress towards a truly diverse Society, with more women members, more members from developing countries, more emphasis on some of the non-medical aspects of biometry, more members from industry.  Another thing I care passionately about is helping our younger generation thrive in IBS. I know it’s a clichй, but they are our future! In the old days, everyone used to subscribe to the various societies since that’s how you got the Journals. Back in the 80s and 90s, there was no such thing as electronic access to journals and so everybody wanted the journals on their own office bookshelf. Getting the journals was a great incentive for joining the various societies. These days it is quite different and Societies need to find other reasons to attract and retain members. I am eager to think about what we as a Society can offer to our members, particularly our younger ones including our students and early career professionals. I have been working on a couple of initiatives, including a mentoring program as well as a young professionals network. I am eager to find ways to offer concrete value and resources for our younger members. Communication will of course be a key element of making the IBS more attractive to young people. As I mentioned above, I have asked Kathy Ruggiero to help me in developing and implementing strategies to enhance IBS presence in social media. There is so much great stuff happening out there among our members, we need to capture that and communicate it more broadly. If you have interest in helping with some of the things mentioned her, please get in touch!

I look forward to seeing you in person at the IBC meetings in Barcelona, if not before!

Louise Ryan

From the Editor

Dear Readers,

I am happy to bring you the first issue of 2018. In this issue, we publish an article on the Measurement Error and Misclassification topic group (TG), a third in a series of papers on the STRengthening Analytical Thinking for Observational Studies (STRATOS) initiative. In this article Laurence Freedman (Gertner Institute, Israel) and Victor Kipnis (NCI US) give a general description of the TG, description of activities aimed at increasing awareness of the problems caused by measurement error and misclassification in statistical analyses and in removing barriers to using statistical methods that deal with such problems. I have a special interest in this TG since my PhD topic on interactions between error-prone covariates, under the supervision of Laurence Freedman, was related to this topic.

In the Software Corner, Hon Hwang (University of Technology Sydney), a student of Louise Ryan, wrote about GitHub in R, including a concrete example where you can practice.

In this issue I publish a letter to the editor that is related to the Special Feature Article of Daria Steigman from a previous issue about “Statistics and food Security – How data analysis can help us feed the world”. The letter is by Sivan Ben-Avraham Shulman,(Gertner Institute, Israel), where she mentions the importance of discussing the way we consume food and utilize our food systems these days as a way to increase our food production. I am looking forward to receiving additional letters from you, the readers, related to articles in the Bulletin or to any interesting issue related to Statistics and its applications.

In addition, I am happy to publish a new riddle in the Mathematical Riddle Corner. It is taken from www.Alberto.org.il website for Leisure Time Learning Challenges. This website was established as a memorial project, in memory of Alberto Gabay by his son, for encouraging his moto in life that learning should be challenging and fun!

Note that the specific riddle is trickier then you think at a first glance. Please send answers to HaviM@gertner.health.gov.il. The first 5 to answer correctly will be mentioned in the next Bulletin. I’ll appreciate if you could email me any interesting riddles you encounter to be published in the next issues.

In February, we celebrated Laurence Freedman’s 70th Birthday in a special meeting of the Israeli Biostatistics Forum, a branch of the Mediterranean Region (EMR) of IBS, at Tel-Hashomer, Israel. The meeting was organized by the Biostatistics & Biomathematics Unit, Gertner Institute, Israel. Laurence has contributed significantly to IBS. He was one of the founders of the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) of IBS in 2001 and its first President, an associate-editor of Biometrics (1997-2003), Elected Co-Editor of Biometrics (2004-2007) and received the Award for Outstanding Contributions to the International Biometric Society in 2008. Personally, over the past 19 years, he was my boss, PhD supervisor, Co-author on papers, Co-chair in organizing the 7th EMR meeting in Tel-Aviv, Israel, in 2013, but most of all he was and still is my mentor and my “professional” father. Thank you Laurence for everything and congratulations! Additional details about the meeting appear on EMR news in this Bulletin and in http://gertnerinst.org.il/e/941/409.htm.

I am looking forward to meeting you in Barcelona Spain on July in the IBC conference.

Havi Murad

Image of Laurence Freedman and Havi Murad standing next to each other.

Laurence Freedman and Havi Murad (Biometric Bulletin Editor)

Letter to the Editor

I recently had the chance to read your story titled “Statistics and Food Security”.

Although the focus of the report is obviously the role of data science I feel that when discussing ways to increase our food production it is imperative to mention the way we consume food and utilize our food systems these days.

The story mentions the UN’s estimate of population growth to 9.8 billion by 2050, a ~30% increase from today’s 7.6 billion. On the same time the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) convey in their report on food waste that today about a third of the food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted every year. You don’t have to be a statistician to do the math.

I believe that data science could contribute to better planning and recovery of our food systems so we could both consume more sensibly and produce enough healthy food for all.

Sivan Ben-Avraham Shulman, RD, MPH Gertner Institute for Epidemiology and Health Policy Research

XXIX International Biometric Conference

IBC2018 Registration Info

Register Now for the XXIX IBC.

Registration for the XXIX International Biometric Conference is now OPEN!
Be sure to register by the standard
registration deadline date, 31 May 2018.

In order to register online, you must login to the IBS website and use your personal username and password.

Online Registration

You may also register by using the PDF registration form

PDF Registration

All IBS members will receive special discounted pricing. For questions, please contact IBC registration support staff at ibc@biometricsociety.org.

Short Courses

Five Short courses have been selected for presentation just before the International Biometric Conference begins. All Short Courses will take place on Sunday, 8 July 2018 from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, and are taught by experienced professionals who are experts in their fields. To view a brief summary of each Short Course, click on the titles below:

Course 1: Mediation Analysis Using R

Course 2: Multivariate Dimension Reduction for Biological
            Data Integration

Course 3: The Analysis of Interval-Censored Observations

Course 4: Network Meta-Analysis with R

Course 5: Compositional Data Analysis (CoDa Course)

The Short Course registration fee is additional and includes lunch, coffee/tea breaks, and handouts provided by the instructors.  There is limited seating available during the courses, so do not wait until the last minute to sign up! Register here.

Young Statistician Award Winners

The IBS is happy to announce the following applicants from each of the five continental areas (Ethiopia, Australia, United Kingdom, USA and Brazil), have been selected to make an oral presentation during the Young Statistician Showcase at the 29th International Biometric Conference (IBC) in Barcelona, Spain. The YSS Competition Committee received almost 50 submission and to choose only five was very difficult!

Congratulations!

Recipient Name Continental AreaIBS Region IBS Region
Tilahun Ferede Asena Ethiopia Africa
Tea Kristiane Uggen Australia Asia/Australia
Yuejia Xu United Kingdom Europe
Virginia Fisher USA ENAR North America
Rafael de Andrade Moral Brazil South America

IBC2018 Accommodations

Hotel availability and pricing in Barcelona change significantly when approaching the summer season. The International Biometric Office recommends that you start booking your travel arrangements and hotel accommodations as soon as possible. You can visit the IBC2018 conference website for a list of hotels in the neighbourhood of the conference venue and their special rates for the conference.  We offer a variety of accommodations for attendees and students. For all general questions or assistance with finding the right proposal to fit, your requirements email ibc2018@pacifico-meetings.com.

Click here to view the IBC2018 conference accommodation information.

Visa Information

The conference organizers will provide a letter of invitation, upon request, to registered delegates with visa applications for travel to Barcelona. However, in order for a personal letter of invitation to be issued, registration for the IBC2018 must first be made.  If you require a visa letter, please visit our conference website for requirements and registration. http://2018.biometricconference.org/conference-information/traveling-to-barcelona/

Biometrics

June 2018 Issue Highlights

The June Biometric Methodology section opens with a Discussion paper by Jenny Hдggstrцm on “Data-driven confounder selection via Markov and Bayesian networks.” The paper is discussed by Edward H. Kennedy and S. Balakrishnan on the one hand, and Thomas R. Richardson, James M. Robins, and Linbo Wang on the other. A selection of further papers includes “Joint principal trend analysis for longitudinal high-dimensional data,” by Yuping Zhang and Zhengqing Ouyang, “Eigenvalue significance testing for genetic association,” by Yi-Hui Zhou, J.S. Marron, and Fred A. Wright, “Inverse probability weighted Cox regression for doubly  truncated data,” by Micha Mandel, Jacobo de Uсa-Alvarez, David K. Simon, and Rebecca A. Betensky, and “Heterogeneous reciprocal graphical models,” by Yang Ni, Peter Mьller, Yitan Zhu, and Yuan Ji.

Among the papers in the Biometric Practice section are “Single index methods for evaluation of marker-guided treatment rules based on multivariate marker panels,” by Veronika Skrivankova and Patrick J. Heagerty, “Sample size determination for multilevel hierarchical designs using generalized linear mixed models,” by A. Amatya and D. Bhaumik, “Fully-Bayesian spectral methods for imaging data,” by Brian J. Reich, Joseph Guinness, Simon N. Vandekar, Russell T. Shinohara, and Ana-Maria Staicu, “Case-only approach to identifying markers predicting treatment effects on the relative risk scale,” by James Y. Dai, Jason Liang, Michael LeBlanc, Ross L. Prentice, and Holly Janes, and “Modeling associations between latent event processes governing time series of pulsing hormones,” by Huayu Liu, Nichole E. Carlson, Gary K. Grunwald, and Alex J. Polotsky.

As always, lists of papers to appear can be found at the Biometrics website.  Papers to appear in future issues may also be found under the “Early View” link at the Wiley website, which may be accessed by

IBS members by visiting http://www.biometricsociety.org/, selecting “Biometrics” from the drop-down menu at the “Publications” link at the top of the page, and accessing the “Click here” link.

Winners of the “Best Paper in Biometrics by an IBS Member” Awards

This award is given by the IBS biennially to one Biometrics paper from each of the previous two years identified by the Co-Editors as being of the highest quality and importance.   We are happy to report that the winners of the Award for 2016 and 2017 have been selected:

For 2016: Fang, Z., Kim, I., and Schaumont, P (2016). Flexible variable selection for recovering sparsity in nonadditive nonparametric models. Biometrics 72, 1155-1163.

For 2017:Hou, P., Tebbs, J., Bilder, C.R., and McMahan, C.S. (2017). Hierarchical group testing for multiple infections. Biometrics 73, 656-665.

The winners will be formally recognized at the Award Ceremony at the IBC2018 in Barcelona, on July 10, 2018.

Furthermore, there will be a Biometrics Showcase Session at the upcoming International Biometric Conference in Barcelona, July 2018.

Report of the Editors Highlights

As usual, the March 2018 issue contains as the lead article the “Report of the Editors – 2017,” which presents journal statistics for 2017.  Some highlights from the Report:

  • Biometrics received 603 new submissions to the Biometric Methodology and Biometric Practice sections of Biometrics in 2017, plus four Reader Reaction articles and one Letter to the Editors. This number of submissions to Methodology and Practice is similar to the 617 submissions received in 2016, and represents an increase over the 591 received in 2015 and 594 in 2014.
  • Of the 603 submissions in 2017, 446 were to Biometric Methodology (74.0%), compared to 453 (73.4%) in 2016, 395 (66.8%) in 2015, and 396 (66.7%) in 2014. Thus, in the past two years, Methodology submissions represented a greater proportion of total submissions relative to the roughly two-thirds in the previous two years. This represents a decrease in the proportion of submissions to Biometric Practice.
  • The 603 new manuscript submissions came from 37 countries/districts. The greatest proportion of submissions was from the USA (58.5%); followed by the United Kingdom (5.1%), Canada (4.6%), P.R. China (4.3%), India (2.8%), France (2.5%), Taiwan (2.5%), Germany (2.2%), and Australia (2.0%). In 2017, Biometrics published 92 Biometric Methodology papers and 41 Biometric Practice papers.

More information is available in the full Report.

Editorial Board News

Co-Editor Stijn Vansteelandt’s term will end 31 December 2018.  According to geographic convention, the new Co-Editor should reside in Europe.  A search committee has been formed, including the Executive Editor (Geert Molenberghs, Belgian Region), Stijn Vansteelandt, Biometrics CE (Belgian Region), Malka Gorfine, Biometrics CE (EMR), Debashis Ghosh, Biometrics CE (ENAR), Hans-Peter Piepho, Editorial Advisory Committee Chair (German Region), and two further members of the Editorial Advisory Committee: Esa Läärä,, EAC member (Nordic Baltic, former EAC chair) and Liliane Lopez Kleine, EAC member (Central America and Caribbean Region).   The result of the search will be reported in a future column.

Associate Editors (AEs) for Biometrics serve two-year, renewable terms that start on 1 July of each year.  Each year, roughly half of the AEs have terms ending on 30 June; accordingly, each Spring, the Co-Editors review the expertise of the current AEs and submission trends with an eye toward possibly bringing on new AEs with expertise that is underrepresented or may be lost by AE retirements.  The CEs welcome suggestions at any time from the IBS membership regarding individuals who may be excellent choices to serve as AEs.  Please send suggestions, along with a CV or URL where the individual’s qualifications may be found, to the journal Editorial Manager, Ms. Ann Hanhart, at biometrics@tibs.org.  Self-nominations will be considered.

Marie Davidian Retired as Biometrics Co-Editor after 20 Years of Service to Biometrics

On January 1, 2018, Marie Davidian handed over the baton as Executive Editor to Geert Molenberghs. This concludes 20 years of service to Biometrics.

In 1997, she started a four-year term as Associate Editor, while Ray Carroll was Editor. In the same period, current IBS President Louise Ryan was Shorter Communications Editor. Ray made a number of important changes. He appointed an Executive Editor, Jim Calvin at the time. He also hired Ann Hanhart, our highly effective Editorial Manager to this day. Ray further founded the three co-editor system, with co-editors serving three year terms, one rotating off and on every January 1, and from diverse geographic regions. Ray worked hard on bringing the review times down, by increasing the number of Associate Editors and defining very clearly what is and is not expected from reviewers. Marie and all the intervening co-editors have worked hard to keep up the good performance.

The initial slate of co-editors encompassed Marie Davidian. A consequence of a three editor system is that, while a single editor is in charge by default, three editors need some coordination. Biometrics started with a coordinating editor who was one of the three co-editors.  The position was filled by Marie in 2000-2002, followed by Xihong Lin in 2003-2005. After that, it became apparent that it would be easier to have the coordination task separate from the core co-editorial business. The Co-editor position was formed. The first hire was announced on September 7, 2005: “The Biometrics Executive Editor Search Committee recommends that Marie Davidian (North Carolina State University, USA) be appointed the inaugural EE. This recommendation is based on her dedication to the IBS, her exemplary performance as a Biometrics editor, her scientific excellence and management skills.”

In the intervening time period, Marie had served as Editorial Representative on the IBS Executive Committee (2002-2003) and as Editorial Advisory Committee chair (2004-2007). She started office as Executive Editor in 2006, and served for four consecutive three-year terms, until December 31, 2017.

Marie Davidian and Ann Hanhart became a very strong and successful team and, jointly with the Co-Editors, the Associate Editors, the referees, IBS officers committees, conference organizers, the International Business office, and Wiley staff, made the journal a scientific and economically healthy success.

For 12 years, Marie assigned papers to CEs, organized CE searches, organized AE turnover, organized board meetings at JSMs and IBCs, organized showcase sessions at these meetings, prepared monthly statistics, wrote half-yearly AE reports, wrote quarterly AE reports, wrote quarterly Biometric Bulletin articles, and wrote the annual report.  At the same time, she worked  very efficiently with the Executive Board and the Editorial Advisory Committee, reached out to the IBS International Business Office, our Wiley contacts, conference organizers, etc.

Journal of Agricultural Biological, and Environmental Statistics (JABES) Editor Report

The new Twitter account @JabesEditor is helping to raise the profile of papers published in JABES.  If you want to receive tweets about papers, or other issues related to JABES, please follow us.

Review times have continued to fall on average, largely thanks to the efforts of Cornelia Oedekoven.  Of 89 new papers submitted in the first 6 months of 2017, for the 49 papers rejected without review, the mean time to decision was 2 days.  For the 40 that were reviewed, the mean time was 56 days.  There were 29 resubmissions, for which the mean time to a decision was 24 days.

The December issue included the following papers: A New Approach to Modelling the Relationship Between Annual Population Abundance Indices and Weather Data by D. A. Elston et al., Modelling the Covariance Structure in Marginal Multivariate Count Models: Hunting in Bioko Island by W. H. Bonat et al.,Assessing the Impacts of Time-to-Detection Distribution Assumptions on Detection Probability Estimation by A. Martin-Schwarze, J. Niemi and P. Dixon, Bayesian Calibration of Blue Crab (Callinectes sapidus) Abundance Indices Based on Probability Surveysby Dong Liang et al., Generalized Linear Latent Variable Models for Multivariate Count and Biomass Data in Ecology by J. Niku et al., The 2012 Census of Agriculture: A Capture–Recapture Analysis by L. J. Young, A. C. Lamas and D.A. Abreu, Local Influence for Spatially Correlated Binomial Data: An Application to the Spodoptera frugiperda Infestation in Corn by D. T. Nava et al., The Allometric Quarter-Power Scaling Model and Its Applicability to Grand Fir and Eucalyptus Trees by H. Capes et al., Risk Assessment for Toxicity Experiments with Discrete and Continuous Outcomes: A Bayesian Nonparametric Approach by K. Fronczyk and A. Kottas, “Bias Correction in Estimating Proportions by Pooled Testing by G. Hepworth and B. J. Biggerstaff, “The Odd Log-Logistic Student t Distribution: Theory and Applications by A. da Silva Braga et al., and Analysis of Multiple Binary Responses Using a Threshold Model by Ling-Yun Chang et al.

If you have a suggestion for a special issue, I would be pleased to hear from you.  We are also keen to publish papers that summarize the state of methodological development in subject areas for which technological advances are generating a demand for new statistical approaches.  If such papers also speculate on likely future developments, so much the better.  If you feel that you could offer such a paper, or can suggest a topic together with possible authors, please let me know.

For more information on upcoming issues, the editorial board, and the aim and scope of the journal, please visit our website link.springer.com/journal/13253. We also accept submissions of books to review in the upcoming issues of JABES; to submit a book for review, please see the above website (click on “Editorial Board”) or contact Ken Newman (ken_newman@fws.gov).

Steve Buckland, Editor in Chief

Software Corner

Using GitHub to streamline your collaboration workflow
Hon Hwang

The University of Technology Sydney (UTS); and ARC Centre of Excellence for Mathematical and Statistical Frontiers (ACEMS)

If you haven’t at least heard the term “GitHub”, then chances are you’ve been stranded on a desert island for the past several years. You may have even gone to a GitHub site if you’ve used a Tidyverse R package such as ggplot2 (Wickham 2016). The purpose of this brief report is to give you more background about the benefit of using GitHub (or just plain Git ). Even if you work alone, Git can help you improve the reproducibility of your work, whether your work consists of R code or LaTeX. However, when you are collaborating with others, tools such as GitHub will become indispensable. There are many excellent available resources on how to use Git and GitHub, e.g. “GitHub Guides,” , “Getting Git Right,”, Demaree (2016), Bryan and the STAT 545 TAs (2018). Therefore, I will not repeat the basics here. Instead, I will describe a typical workflow of developing an R package through GitHub to demonstrate its benefits.

Before going further, I need to clarify the difference between Git and GitHub. Git is a version control software, whereas GitHub (and a similar service called Bitbucket), are Git hosting services. What this means is that GitHub and Bitbucket store users’ files in their data-centres and provide web-based user interfaces. Their underlying mechanism of version control, however, are just Git. Bryan and the STAT 545 TAs (2018) recommend thinking GitHub as ‘DropBox, but much, much better’. Now that the distinction between Git and GitHub is defined, let’s start by briefly going over how using Git and GitHub can benefit you in standalone projects (i.e., projects with no collaborators).

By using Git, let’s say hosted on GitHub, for your standalone projects, you gain the ability to keep track of the evolution of your project; that is essentially what a version control tool provides. There are a variety of tools that work with Git. They include issuing git commands from the command line, dedicated GUI application such as SourceTree, and within software development tools such as RStudio. Either way, you can track changes you’ve made (commit), examine and compare these changes (diff), and in the event of a mistake, revert to the last known version(checkout). This ability to keep track of the evolution of your project is what makes GitHub an essential tool when you start collaborating with others.

When you work with multiple people, not only you need to track your changes, you are also going to need to synchronize changes from other people. You have probably experienced collaborations, where the mechanism of tracking changes consisted of files with long and complicated names sent among collaborators using email (e.g. paper draft 1.docx, paper draft 2 with comments from Sally.docx, paper final.docx, paper etc). With a service like GitHub, the synchronization of various edits and changes is more organized and therefore saves you time and avoids mistakes. Following is an example of developing an R package. Assuming you have a GitHub account, you begin by creating a repository on GitHub, which will store the files in the R package. You then clone this repository to your computer and then start working on the R package. When you have a final R code, you commit then push it back to the repository. Your collaborators can contribute to your R package by first forking (copy) your repository to their GitHub accounts. In this model, called ‘Forking Workflow’ (Atlassian, n.d.), the repository on your GitHub account is known as the official repository. After forking, your collaborators will clone their copies of the repositories to their computers, then, go through commit, push cycle to make changes. When a collaborator wants to share something back to you, e.g., an R function, they will create a pull request, which is a request asking you to pull their changes to your repository; GitHub will notify you of the pull request. After you accepted the pull request, your repository will contain the R function written by your collaborator. Going the other way, to synchronize your changes to their repositories, your collaborators will perform a pull operation in Git. However, since only you are the owner of the official repository, you do not need to create a pull request.

Following, I’ll present a concrete example where you are going to fork a repository, modify some R code, and then create a pull request. For this example, you can use whatever Git software you are comfortable with. First, create a GitHub account (if you haven’t done so) and log into your account on a web browser. Then in the web browser, navigate to a demonstration project created for this report located at https://github.com/hdoubleu/simplecalc. Fork this repository by clicking on the Fork button located on the top right of the page. You should now have a copy of the repository in your GitHub account. After the repository has been forked, clone it to your computer. There are a number of changes you can make to this demonstration project. For example, the documentation for the subtract function (located in the file calc.R with the directory named R) does not match what the function does. To rectify this, you can either modify the function’s documentation or the body of the function. For this article, we are going to keep the steps simple by not creating a branch to hold those changes. After you have made your changes, commit and push these to your repository. Now back to the web browser, in the web page of your version of the repository, you should see a button named New pull request (located at upper left of the page). Click on this button then click on Create pull request. You will be asked to add some meaningful description about this change. Then submit this pull request. The author of the official repository will then review your pull request and decide whether to incorporate this change or not.

Using forking workflow outlined above, authors of R packages can work on their features while incorporating bug corrections and features from other users. In addition, the history of the package, such as when software bugs were corrected, or features added are all tracked. By hosting R packages on GitHub, you allow others to add major or minor contributions (e.g. fixing typographic errors (Xie 2013)) to open sourced projects. To use your R package, it can be installed directly from GitHub using the devtools package, Wickham and Chang (2017). You will often see the development version of R packages hosted on GitHub, while their public version published on CRAN.

Using Git with GitHub (or Bitbucket) for your standalone project provides you with the ability to track the history of your project. However, the benefits of using these tools become more obvious in collaboration with others. Whether you are developing R packages, or just writing a paper for publication, tools like GitHub allows you and your collaborators to synchronize the changes in the project in a well-defined manner.

References
“Bitbucket.” n.d. https://bitbucket.org.

Bryan, Jenny, and the STAT 545 TAs. 2018. “Happy Git and Github for the useR.” http://happygitwithr.com.

Demaree, David. 2016. Git for Humans. A Book Apart, NY.

“Getting Git Right.” n.d. https://www.atlassian.com/git.

“Git.” n.d. https://git-scm.com.

“GitHub Guides.” n.d. https://guides.github.com.

“RStudio.” n.d. https://www.rstudio.com.

“SourceTree.” n.d. https://www.sourcetreeapp.com.

Wickham, Hadley. 2016. Ggplot2: Elegant Graphics for Data Analysis. Springer-Verlag New York. http://ggplot2.org.

Wickham, Hadley, and Chang, Winston. 2017. Devtools: Tools to Make Developing R Packages Easier. https://CRAN.R-project.org/package=devtools.

Xie, Yihui. 2013. “You Do Not Need to Tell Me I Have a Typo in My Documentation.” https://yihui.name/en/2013/06/fix-typo-in-documentation.

STRengthening Analytical Thinking for Observational Studies (STRATOS)

Introducing the Measurement Error and Misclassification Topic Group (TG4)

Laurence Freedman1 and Victor Kipnis2
on behalf of STRATOS TG4

1Gertner Institute for Epidemiology and Health
Policy Research, Israel; Email: lsf@actcom.co.il

2Biometry Research Group, Division of Cancer Prevention,
National Cancer Institute, USA; Email: kipnisv@mail.nih.gov

In the last two issues of the Bulletin, the STRATOS initiative was introduced and the Missing Data Topic Group (TG1) described their activities. Here, we introduce the Measurement Error and Misclassification Topic Group (TG4). Measurement error and misclassification occur as frequently in observational studies in the biomedical sciences as do missing data. However, while the complete absence of a value for a particular variable is obvious and difficult to ignore, error in an observation is usually less obvious and easier to ignore. Unfortunately, ignoring error can sometimes lead to erroneous conclusions, and possibly erroneous decisions. As described below, our Topic Group sees as its main objective, the development of awareness among biomedical investigators of the impact of measurement error and misclassification on the results of their studies, and the need to adjust for this impact.

The members of the Topic Group are: Laurence Freedman and Victor Kipnis (Joint Chairpersons), Raymond Carroll, Veronika Deffner, Kevin Dodd, Paul Gustafson, Ruth Keogh, Helmut Kuechenhoff, Pamela Shaw and Janet Tooze, all of whom have many years of experience working with data that have measurement error and misclassification and devising and using methods to adjust for the impact of the error.

The first task that the Topic Group set for itself was to conduct a survey of the literature in four areas of epidemiology in which measurement error is known to be extensive: (i) population surveys of dietary intake; (ii) nutritional cohort studies; (iii) physical activity cohort studies and (iv) air pollution studies. Each area was surveyed by one or two members, with the main focus being on whether the research investigators used statistical methods to adjust for the impact of measurement error in the estimates that they reported. The results of this survey have been summarized in a forthcoming manuscript by lead author Pamela Shaw, and are quite revealing. We can report that in all four areas of epidemiology only a minority of published papers (and, except for population dietary surveys, a small one at that) present estimates (e.g. risk estimates or percentiles of distributions) that are adjusted for measurement error. For further details, you can access an unpublished version of the report at arXiv.org, https://arxiv.org/abs/1802.10496.

This general observation has set the scene for our further work. We are now engaged in activities that are aimed at increasing awareness of the problems caused by measurement error and misclassification in statistical analyses and in removing barriers to using statistical methods that deal with such problems. These activities include (i) writing and publishing papers and (ii) presenting papers and workshops at conferences. With regard to papers, we are currently engaged in publishing the literature survey mentioned above in a journal read by epidemiologists, so as to bring the problem to the attention of the epidemiological community.

We have also been developing a guidance paper for biostatisticians on dealing with measurement error and misclassification and are now close to its completion. We felt the need to reach out to biostatisticians because it is apparent that, although much has been written on this topic, many are unaware of its importance and its subtleties. To give an example of the subtleties involved in measurement error work, it is not generally appreciated that the effects of measurement error depend critically both on the nature of the error, as described by the measurement error model, and the nature of the quantity being estimated. Two simple models of measurement error are the “classical” and the “Berkson” models. These two types of error can have opposite effects on estimates. For example, when estimating a distribution, classical error leads to underestimating the lower percentiles and overestimating the upper percentiles, whereas Berkson error leads to overestimating the lower percentiles and underestimating the upper percentiles. Although Berkson error occurs less frequently than classical error in biomedical science, it is becoming more common due to the increasing use of prediction and calibration equations for measuring individuals’ levels of risk or exposure. Such measures usually have Berkson error and appropriate care is needed when they are included in analyses.

A second barrier to dealing with measurement error is lack of familiarity with software available for implementing analyses that adjust for the error. Our guidance paper includes a section that summarizes the main software available for performing a range of such analyses. On the other hand it cannot be denied that more and better software is needed.

A third barrier to dealing with measurement error is the need for validation studies to determine the measurement error model and estimate its parameters, which serve as the basis for adjusting estimates and tests, when needed. Such validation studies are often lacking or imperfect due to lack of resources or sometimes lack of a suitable reference instrument. Our guidance paper includes a final section that discusses how to proceed when information about the measurement error is incomplete or even totally missing. In these cases some form of sensitivity analysis is required.

Further papers that deal with more specific problems or areas are planned, including a guidance paper for nutritional epidemiologists, and a paper providing worked examples of measurement error correction in real studies.

Several presentations were made on behalf of STRATOS TG4 in 2017. Victor Kipnis and Pamela Shaw presented at the bi-annual conference of the Eastern Mediterranean Region of IBS (Greece, May 2017); Ruth Keogh contributed to a pre-conference course at the annual meeting of the Netherlands Epidemiological Society (Antwerp, June 2017); Ruth Keogh and Pamela Shaw taught a half-day course at the Central European Network of IBS and also presented lectures at the conference (Austria, August 2017); and Veronika Deffner presented at the German Association for Medical Informatics (GMDS) (Oldenburg, Germany, September 2017). Slides are available on the STRATOS website (http://www.stratos-initiative.org/). Further presentations and courses are being planned for 2018, so keep a lookout for us in the coming year!

Mathematical Riddle

IBS does not reserve the rights for this riddle.

Please send answers to HaviM@gertner.health.gov.il. The first five people to answer correctly will be mentioned in the next issue of the Biometric Bulletin. Please also email interesting riddles to be published in future issues.

Region News

Australasian Region (AR)

http://www.biometricsociety.org.au

E. A. Cornish Award Awardees 2017

Established in 2011, the E. A. Cornish award is presented by the Australasian Region in recognition of a member’s considerable contribution to biometry and the society. The award is named after Alf Cornish, the region’s first Vice President and IBS President from 1956 to 1957. At the 2017 IBS-AR conference dinner in Kingscliff the two most recent awardees, Alan Welsh and Warren Müller, were named. Congratulations!

Citation for Alan Welsh written by Warren Müller and Samuel Mueller.

Alan Welsh’s award recognises his i) outstanding, extensive and long-time support and representation of the Australasian Region of the International Biometric Society, and his leadership in other societies relevant to biometry; ii) his fundamental contributions to statistical methodology and theory, advancing the field of biometry; in particular, in robustness and model selection in linear models, robustness and bootstrapping in linear mixed models, semiparametric estimation, modelling zero-inflated data, modelling compositional data and the analysis of data from sample surveys; and iii) his continued and extensive mentoring of junior faculty in biometrics; and for his outstanding work as a teacher and scholar.

Alan’s contributions to the International Biometric Society are extensive and include 18 years as Associate Editor for Biometrics (1993-2010), and 10 years as an elected member of the Executive Council (2006-2016). Within the Australasian Region he was a member of the Regional Council for the whole period he was on the IBS Council and has helped organise regional conferences.

Alan’s contributions to the biometrics community extend well beyond his contributions to the IBS. Alan has played an active professional role as a member of the Australian Bureau of Statistics Methodology Advisory Committee, a Council Member of the Institute for Mathematical Statistics, a member of the Europe Committee of the Australian Academy of Science, a Member of the Section Committee of the Australian Academy of Science, and as a member of the Accreditation Committee of the Statistical Society of Australia Inc. In addition, Alan was the Editor-in-Chief of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Statistics from 2012 to 2015. He has also been an associate editor of several of the top statistics journals in addition to Biometrics: The Annals of Statistics (1998-2003), The Journal of the American Statistical Association (2005-2011), Bernoulli (2004-2009), The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Statistics (1993-2009), and The International Journal of Biostatistics (2006-2009).

Alan has published extensively and widely in statistical methodology, including a research monograph on statistical inference and another on maximum likelihood estimation in models for survey data. His research is highly cited with more than 400 citations
annually. His most highly cited paper (> 430 citations) bis on
modelling the abundance of rare species (Welsh et al, 1996,
Ecological Modelling).

Alan is also a wonderful mentor, colleague and friend. In the last ten years alone, Alan has supervised 4 MPhil candidates, 6 PhD candidates and 5 post-doctoral research associates. He has published jointly with all the post-doctoral research associates; 4 of them have gone on to continuing academic positions.

Alan is a most deserving recipient of the E.A. (“Alf”) Cornish award.

Citation for Warren Müller written by David Baird and Ken Russell.

Warren Müller’s award recognises his dedicated service to the Australasian Region of the International Biometric Society as Treasurer for the last 18 years (a role which is still ongoing).

Warren agreed to take on the role of Treasurer at the 1999 Annual Meeting in Hobart. We didn’t realise how fortunate we were. Eighteen years later, Warren is still Treasurer and his contribution to the local region has been outstanding. Not only has he kept our finances and records in top shape, but he has done many other things for the Region. Warren’s work is always meticulous, and he has an excellent memory for all the rules and systems used by the society. He is always approachable, pleasant and helpful in all this dealings with members.

Warren takes care of all the membership details and payments, following up members for overdue payments and keeping email addresses current, and issuing receipts. He deals with the Society’s head office in Washington whenever journals go missing or records need fixing. He organised the registration of the Region as a company and obtained an Australian Business Number for us. He is involved with the selection and payment for student and conference awards. He plays a very active role in the organisation and finances of the Regional conferences, nine during his tenure, keeping track of registrations, taking all payments, returning receipts and producing a financial report for each of these. He has also been involved in the background work for arranging IBS-AR to be an incorporated body, to limit the financial liability of the committee and members. Council members will attest, he provides calm, measured and wise counsel on many matters -too many to count. When Warren finally retires, the IBS-AR committee has recognised that the role Warren has filled over the last 18 years will probably take two people to handle in future. (Ian Renner was elected as Assistant Treasurer at the 2017 Annual meeting in Kingscliff.)

He is a prolific author/co-author with over 130 articles, covering a wide range of applied sciences from ecology, plant biology, animal science, horticulture, agricultural research, soil research, tree physiology, marine biology, epidemiology, wildlife research, cell biology, botany and food chemistry. Despite the extra work he has to do around conferences, Warren has also spoken at most of the IBS-AR conferences over the last 30 years on the practical applications of biometrics to a wide range of applied sciences.

When the idea of nominating Warren was first floated, Samuel Mueller summed it up very well: “Warren is more than just a treasurer, he’s a treasure to our region!” Warren as a most deserving recipient of the E.A. (“Alf”) Cornish award.

3 people standing

E. A. Cornish award recipients, Warren Müller (left) and Alan Welsh (right) pictured with the President of the Australasian Region, Samuel Mueller (centre).

Vanessa Cave

Brazilian Region (RBras)

http://www.rbras.org.br/site/

The 63rd annual meeting of the Brazilian Region (RBras 2018), will be held in Curitiba from 23-25 May 2018. Curitiba is the capital of Paranб State and it is served by an international airport. It is one of the largest cities in the prosperous Southern Brazilian region, very well known among urban planners worldwide for its innovative public transit system. Arriving in Curitiba you will experience an urban scenario in which dwellers, nature and urban environments coexist in harmony. This co-existence itself has become a tourist attraction.

The RBras meeting will be held in one of the oldest Brazilian Universities, the Paranб Federal University (UFPR), a traditional research institution. The conference is organized by the Department of Statistics in collaboration with the Laboratory of Statistics and Geo-information. This year the theme is “Biometry and Statistical Learning in the Age of Information”.

Similar to past RBras meetings the organizers are putting together several short courses, invited sessions and contributed sessions. The scientific program will certainly be outstanding. Among the invited speakers will be Louise Ryan (University of Technology Sydney, Australia and IBS President), John Hinde (NUI-Galway, Ireland), Jacob v. B. Hjelmborg (University of Southern Denmark) and Elizabeth Thompson (University of Washington, USA and Outgoing President). Additional details on the program can be found in http://www.rbras.org.br/rbras63. Please check the guidelines for registration and submission in the web page. We are very glad to announce the participation of the Argentinean Region and Central America and Caribbean Region in this meeting for the
first time.  A satellite event for R users is scheduled for the day before the conference, 22 May. Further information is available at  http://rday.leg.ufpr.br.

The local organizers in Curitiba are very excited from organizing the conference. It will be the first time Curitiba and UFPR host a RBras meeting and the local committe, chaired by Walmes Marques Zeviani and Wagner Hugo Bonat, is looking forward to this great experience. They are work extensively on developing an exciting social programme and offer you memorable opportunities to interact with your peers during the conference.

RBras will very pleased to welcome you in Curitiba this year!

Luzia Trinca

RBras correspondent (with thanks to Walmes for his contributions to this text)

British-Irish Region (BIR)

http://bir.biometricsociety.org/

Rothamsted Research to host 2019 Channel Network Conference

The next Channel Network Conference will take place at Rothamsted Research (Harpenden site) from Wednesday 10th to Friday 12th July 2019. This is a particularly opportune time for Rothamsted to host the Channel Network conference as 2019 sees the centenary celebrations of Fisher’s appointment to Rothamsted kick-starting a long history of applied statistics in biological applications at the research institute.

A full programme of invited and contributed sessions is planned, beginning with a series of short courses and including a poster reception. In addition, it is proposed that the 2019 Fisher Memorial Lecture, along with an RSS special session will take place at the 2019 CNC. There will also be an opportunity to visit the “classical experiments”, including Broadbalk (figure below), which in 2019 will be in its 176th year of experimentation investigating the effects of fertilizer regimes on wheat yields.

An aerial view of a farm field.

Broadbalk at Rothamsted Research

R.A. Fisher was the first president of the International Biometric Society and in keeping with the society and previous channel network conferences, it is anticipated that a broad range of topics representative of the society will be covered at the conference. In the words of the IBS website, “The International Biometric Society is an international society promoting the development and application of statistical and mathematical theory and methods in the biosciences, including agriculture, biomedical science and public health, ecology, environmental sciences, forestry, and allied disciplines.” Rothamsted Research looks forward to hosting this conference and to meeting many of you there – save the date!

Chinese Region (CHINA)

https://www.biometricsociety.org/region/china/

The Fifth International Biostatistics Symposium

Guangzhou, China, 5th-7th July 2018

The fifth International Biostatistics Symposium is sponsored by the International Biometric Society China, hosted by School of Public Health at Sun Yat-sen University, and co-hosted by a list of biostatistical associations (including Southern China Center for Statistical Science at Sun Yat-sen University, Professional Committee of Health Statistics Education at the China Health Information Association, Professional Committee of Statistics Theory and Methods at the China Health Information Association, Chinese Preventive Medicine Association, Biomedical Statistics Branch of China Field Statistical Research Society, and Guangdong Provincial Institute of Biostatistics).

Schedule of Events:

Paper Submission:

Persons interested in presenting a paper at the conference are asked to submit full-length paper (within 8000 words) OR abstract (within 500 words), in Chinese or English via the conference email at ibs_china2018@163.com BEFORE 10th May, 2018.

  • The scopes of thesis should fall within the following themes:
  • Research and challenges of biostatistics methodology
  • Education and reform of biomedical statistics
  • Application of biostatistics in biomedical and clinical fields
  • Application of biostatistics in public health

Registration is Open

All presenters and attendees must register for the symposium. Registration should be made online through the conference page at http://u5130215.viewer.maka.im/k/GFXKQ6KW.

ALL PARTICIPANTS MUST REGISTER BY JUNE 30TH, 2018 TO BE INCLUDED INTO THE FINAL PROGRAM.

The Netherlands Region (BMS-ANed)

http://www.bms-aned.nl/dnn/

Winter meeting ‘Statistical Analysis of Medical Imaging’

On December 15th, 2018, the BMS-ANed organised its annual winter meeting in Leiden. The event, which was themed ‘Statistical Analysis of Medical Imaging’, was a success. It was a very interesting and well attended afternoon.

SHORT COURSE
The day started with a short course on the analysis of medical images, organised and given by Joke Durnez (Stanford). The course provided a thorough introduction into the world of medical imaging through a hands-on practical in R using some example data sets.

FOUR AFTERNOON TALKS AND DRINKS
The meeting itself consisted of four talks. The first speaker was Marie-Colette van Lieshout (CWI, Twente) with a talk entitled ‘Stochastic geometric models for image analysis’. She gave a thorough introduction and overview into the use of stochastic models in imaging.

The next talk was by Joke Durnez, who also gave the short course in the morning. Her talk was focused on ‘Power and reproducibility in neuroimaging’. The first part of her talk presented the various problems of which statistical techniques in neuroimaging suffer. The second part focused on some solutions to these issues.

After a short break we continued the day with Beatrijs Moerkerke’s (Ghent) talk entitled ‘Meta-analyses of fMRI studies’, where she introduced current practices in meta-analyses for fMRI studies, with a focus on publication bias.

The last talk of the day was given by Christian Beckmann (Nijmegen) who talked about ‘Big data for precision medicine: charting resting-state functional connectivity & connectopies’. Christian gave a compelling argument for a ‘normative modelling’ strategy for utilising big cohort data in clinical neuroimaging studies. He also outlined novel approaches for charting the organisation of functional connectivity.

Social drinks are an integral part of the BMS-ANed meetings, so after the talks we further discussed the topics over a drink. All in all it was a successful and insightful meeting with an important pleasant and social aspect.

Classroom

Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR)

http://stat-athens.aueb.gr/~emribs/

10th EMR-IBS conference, 17th–20th December 2018, Jerusalem Israel

The Jerusalem Joint Statistical Event 2018 will be held on the 17th until 20th of December 2018 in Israel. It includes a one-day symposium in honor of the 70th birthday of Professor Yoav Benjamini of Tel Aviv University, followed by the 10th Conference of the Eastern Mediterranean Region of the International Biometrics Society (EMR-IBS).

Yoav Benjamini is one of the founding fathers of the false discovery rate (FDR) approach to multiple comparisons, which has emerged as a key tool in modern science. The symposium in his honor includes a strong lineup of invited speakers.

The EMR was founded in 2001 as an association of statisticians and biostatisticians operating in the Mediterranean area. The EMR includes the following countries: Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Israel, Jordan, Palestinian National Authority, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Bulgaria.  Starting from 2001, the EMR has run a series of international conferences, held approximately once every two years. These conferences have been highly successful, attracting a wide range of participants from all over the globe. The 10th Conference, like the previous EMR conferences, will include a broad variety of topics in statistics and biostatistics.

We will again have a plenary talk in memory of Professor Marvin Zelen. Professor Zelen was a leader in the field of biostatistics and a strong supporter of the EMR, actively participating in the all the EMR conferences until the time of his passing.

In addition, for the 5th consecutive conference, to encourage the participation of young researchers, we will present student awards in memory of Professor Steve Lagakos, another leading biostatician with strong ties to the EMR.

For additional details and applications for student awards:
https://www.emr2018.com

Malka Gorfine (Tel-Aviv University) and David
Zucker (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

On behalf of the organizers of the 10th EMR-IBS Conference

Ruth Heller and Felix Abramovich (Tel-Aviv
University)

On behalf of the organizers of the symposium in honor of Yoav Benjamini

Israel

On the 12th of February the Biostatistics & Biomathematics Unit (Gertner Inst.) celebrated the 70th Birthday of Prof Laurence Freedman (Larry) in a special one-day scientific meeting of the Israeli Biostatistics Forum (5th meeting) at Tel-Hashomer, to salute Prof. Freedman’s work and immense contribution to the field of Biostatistics.

We were honored to have special guest lecturers from Israel and abroad:

Prof. Max Parmar, MRC and University College, London
Dr. Victor Kipnis, National Cancer Institute, NIH

Prof. Rebecca Betensky, Harvard School of Public health

Dr. Natasha Tasevska, College of Health Solutions, Arizona State University

Prof. Pamela Shaw, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Ofra Kalter-Leibovici, Cardiovascular Epidemiology Unit, Gertner Institute, Israel

Dr. Havi Murad, Biostatistics & Biomathematics Unit, Gertner Institute, Israel

Dr. Malka Gorfine, Statistics and Operations Research, Tel Aviv University, Israel

Prof. Laurence Freedman, Biostatistics & Biomathematics, Gertner Institute, Israel

The program focused on Clinical Trials and Measurement Error, but the topics varied widely in scope. The clinical trials presentations covered design of multi-arm multi-stage trials (Parmar), checking for fabricated results (Betensky) and the results of a trial of a disease management program for COPD and asthma (Kalter-Leibovici). The measurement error presentations covered the less well-known effects of Berkson error (Freedman), measurement error in longitudinal studies (Kipnis), studies of biomarkers for sugars intake (Tasevska), the SIMEX method (Shaw), Nonparametric adjustment for measurement error in time to event data: Application to risk prediction models (Gorfine) and interactions between error-prone covariates (Murad). There were more than 120 attendees. In the evening, the organizers and the overseas speakers went to charming Jaffa for a tour and dinner. On the next day, an organized tour to Jerusalem took place.

An outdoors image displaying a group if people standing together in a line.

The old city of Jerusalem. From left to right (Havi Murad, Laurence Freedman, Max Parmar, Ilana Lobel (Organizer), Natasha Tasevska, Pamela Shaw, Victor Kipnis.

Eastern North American Region (ENAR)

https://www.enar.org/

ENAR Officers

ENAR is pleased to announce the election of the President-elect: Sarah Ratcliffe who will join President: Jeffrey S. Morris; Past President: Scarlett Bellamy; Secretary: Bhramar Mukherjee; Treasurer: Reneй Moore; and RAB Chair: Todd Ogden on the Executive Committee. The ENAR membership expresses heartfelt appreciation to all candidates. We are fortunate to have many outstanding members willing to commit time and energy to serve the profession and organization. Please join us in congratulating our newly-elected officers.

2018 ENAR Spring Meeting, Atlanta, GA, USA

The 2018 Spring Meeting of the IBS Eastern North American Region, in conjunction with the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (IMS) and sections of the American Statistical Association (ASA), will be held 25-28 March at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta on Peachtree St.

The scientific program will once again be phenomenal, with a wide variety of topics. The Presidential Invited Speaker will be Dr. Roderick Little, Richard D. Remington Distinguished Professor, Department of Statistics, University of Michigan. The title of his talk is “Statistics as Prediction.”  Several short courses and tutorials will once again be offered, as well as round tables. A complete listing of the many sessions to be held at the meeting can be found at www.enar.org.

ENAR 2018 will feature one pre-conference workshop, Fostering Diversity in Biostatistics, which will take place on Sunday afternoon. Sunday evening will feature the new member reception, opening mixer and poster session, during which the ENAR Regional Advisory Board poster competition will be held. The Council for Emerging and New Statisticians will hold a student mixer on Monday evening, and the Career Placement Center will take place throughout the meeting to offer assistance to those seeking employment.

ENAR thanks Program Chair Veera Baladandayuthapani
(veera@mdanderson.org) and Associate Chair Jeff Goldsmith
(jeff.goldsmith@columbia.edu) for their tremendous effort in
crafting the scientific program.

2018 JSM Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada

The 2018 Joint Statistical Meetings will be held in Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada from 28 July – 2 August 2018, and ENAR is fortunate to have Brian Reich be our representative to the Program Committee. Questions should be directed to Brian at brian_reich@ncsu.edu.

2019 ENAR Spring Meeting, 24–27 Philadelphia, PA, USA

Stay tuned for information about the 2019 ENAR Spring Meeting in Philadelphia, PA!

ENAR Webinar Series

Details about upcoming ENAR webinars can be found at:
https://www.enar.org/education/. Please contact Elena Polverejan (EPolvere@its.jnj.com) if you have suggestions for webinar topics.

German Region (DR)

http://www.biometrische-gesellschaft.de/

Honorary Membership for Prof. Dr. Ludwig Hothorn

At the CEN-ISBS Joint Conference, Prof. Dr. Ludwig Hothorn was awarded as honorary member of the German Region, due to his outstanding merits to the region. The appointment was based on the vote of the general meeting of the German Region. The honorary certificate was handed over by the DR Vice-President Tim Friede. Frank Bretz presented the outstanding merits of Prof. Hothorn.

Two people talking

IBS-DR Vice-President Tim Friede congratulates Ludwig Hothorn (left) on his award of Honorary Membership of the German Region.

Young Talent Awards

At the CEN-ISBS Joint Conference, the German Region awarded six young scientists. The Bernd Streitberg Award for remarkable achievement of pre-doctorates not older than 30 years was awarded to

Regina Stegherr, Master thesis at the University of Ulm. Title: Joint modelling for left-truncated observational studies: unmeasured baseline covariates as a consequence of delayed study entry

Alexandra Bьhler, Bachelor thesis at the University of Ulm. Title: A causal analysis of ventilator-associated pneumonia in intensive care

Frank Weber, Bachelor thesis at the University of Dortmund. Title: Modellierung von rekurrenten Ereignissen in der Ereigniszeitanalyse am Beispiel einer Studie zum rezidivfreien Ьberleben von Harnblasenpatienten

The Gustav Adolf Lienert Award for exceptional scientific work by members not older than 35 years was awarded to

  1. price: Hong Sun (Freiburg). Comparing a stratified treatment
    strategy with the standard treatment in randomized clinical trials;
    Statistics in Medicine
  2. price: Frau Annika Hoyer (Dьsseldorf). Meta-analysis for the
    comparison of two diagnostic tests to a common gold
    standard: a generalized linear mixed model approach;
    Statistical Methods in Medical Research
  3. price: Frau Clara Happ (Mьnchen). Multivariate functional
    principal component analysis for data observed on different
    (dimensional) domains; Journal of the American Statistical
    Association
A group shot of student.

Young talent awards ceremony of the German Region at the CEN-ISBS Joint Conference in Vienna. From left to right: Andreas Faldum (President of the DR), Frank Weber, Annika Hoyer, Clara Happ, Alexandra Bьhler, Regina Stegherr, Hong Sun, Tim Friede (Vice-President of the DR).

Japanese Region (JR)

http://www.biometrics.gr.jp/

The 2017 Biometric Seminar

The Biometric Seminar entitled “On estimand and sensitivity analysis in clinical trials” was held on December 15th, 2017 at TKP Garden City PREMIUN Jimbocho in Tokyo. This seminar was jointly organized with the Clinical Biostatistics Course in Kyoto University, Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Agency (PMDA) and Japan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association. At first, Dr. Yuki Ando (PMDA) overviewed the step 2 document of the ICH E9 Guideline (R1) and introduced appropriate frameworks and the concept of estimand to make a relevant inference in the presence of intercurrent events. Dr. Thomas Permutt (FDA) argued limitations of the ITT analysis and MAR-based inference in the presence of withdrawal relating to adverse event and lack of efficacy. Dr. Frank Bretz (Novartis) discussed five strategies for handling intercurrent events. These three presentations were followed by a panel session, in which exciting discussions were made. More than two hundred people attended the seminar.

The 2018 Annual Meeting of the Biometric Society of Japan

The 2018 Annual Meeting of the Biometric Society of Japan will be held on 29-30, March 2018 at Institute of Statistical Mathematics, Tokyo, Japan. An invited session on statistical consultation has been organized. A tutorial seminar will be also organized jointly with Japanese Society of Applied Statistics on adaptive designs in medical and marketing research.

Satoshi Hattori

Western North American Region (WNAR)

https://www.biometricsociety.org/region/western-north-american/

2018 WNAR Election Results

Congratulations to WNAR President-Elect Katerina Kechris from University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, WNAR Secretary Megan Othus from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; and WNAR Regional Committee Representatives Ed Bedrick from University of Arizona, Roy Mendelssohn from NOAA, and Cristina Murray-Krezan from the University of New Mexico.

Special thanks go out to outgoing WNAR Past-President Susanne May and outgoing Regional Committee Representatives Nichole Carlson and Ken Newman for their efforts and dedication to WNAR.

We would like to thank all the WNAR members who volunteered to be candidates for these offices. WNAR is fortunate to have so many talented members willing to dedicate their time and energy to WNAR, which makes each election a choice among outstanding individuals.

2018 WNAR/IMS meeting

The 2018 WNAR/IMS meeting will be in Edmonton, Canada from 24-27 June at the University of Alberta.  The campus is located on the southern bank of the North Saskatchewan River.  As one of the largest cities in Canada, Edmonton is a cultural center, with many arts and culture events anchored in the downtown Arts District, accessible from campus by the city light rail system.  Both the Edmonton Jazz Festival and Freewill Shakespeare Festival are scheduled to occur in the city during the WNAR conference dates.  Most of the city has accessible bike and walking trail connections.  In addition, Edmonton is a 4 hour drive from Banff National Park, Canada’s oldest National Park and Alberta’s most visited tourist destination.  Visitors to Banff in the summer can enjoy hiking, camping, canoeing, cycling, fishing, golfing, kayaking, skateboarding, swimming, walking trails, and relaxing at the hot springs.   The local organizers are Bei Jiang and Linglong Kong.  Details about the meeting will be posted on the WNAR web page www.wnar.org as they become available.

2018 WNAR Student Paper Competition

WNAR sponsors students who enter the student paper competition. All WNAR-region entrants receive their registration fees and banquet dinner ticket for free. Monetary prizes will be awarded to the best papers in written and oral competitions. Information on the 2018 WNAR Student Paper Competition, registration information, and program details for the meeting will be posted as they become available: http://www.wnar.org. We look forward to seeing you there.

Megan Othus

Announcements

We are delighted to announce the launch of Biostatistics & Epidemiology as an official journal of the Chinese Region of the International Biometric Society.  Below we outline the mission and scope of the Journal, along with the review process.

The journal aims to provide a platform for dissemination of new statistical methods and promotion of good analytical practices in biomedical investigation and epidemiology. The journal has four main sections:

  • Method and Theory – Papers should contain new statistical methods and theory that are motivated by real clinical applications.
  • Applications – Papers should provide comprehensive examples from biomedical sciences and epidemiology and clearly articulate the appropriateness of the chosen statistical methods in addressing significant clinical or research questions.
  • Software and Computing – Papers should highlight the utilization of software/computing algorithms in statistical methods related to biomedical science and epidemiology.
  • Tutorials – Papers should be educational pieces or critical reviews of statistical methods in important and emerging areas of biomedical science and epidemiology.

Case studies of substantial scientific and methodological importance are also welcomed. Proposals for special issues are encouraged, and should be discussed with the Editor-in-Chief.

Book cover for Biostatistics & EpidemiologyBiostatistics & Epidemiology aims to publish high quality papers.  All submitted manuscripts are subject to initial appraisal (by the Editor-in-Chief) and peer review (by independent, anonymous expert referees), if found suitable for further consideration. All peer review is double blind and submission is online via Editorial Manager®. Only papers that receive very positive reviews will be accepted for publication in Biostatistics & Epidemiology. We aim to provide a prompt but comprehensive review process.

For detailed information about the journal, please visit the following official journal website:

http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/tbep20#.V5U5uzkrL-Z

We look forward to receiving your submissions.

Xiao-Hua (Andrew) Zhou
Editor-in-Chief
Biostatistics & Epidemiology

 

IBS Journal Club LogoIBS Journal Club

The Education Committee of the International Biometric Society (IBS) is excited to announce its next Journal Club discussion, centered on the
following paper recently published in Biometrics:

The Journal Club will be held on June 14, 2018 at 15:00 GMT. For additional information click here.

To register contact
IBS@biometricsociety.org.

The Journal Club takes place on a bi-monthly basis. Be sure to save the 2018 dates:

June 14, 2018
August 16, 2018
October 11, 2018
December 13, 2018

Announcements

IBS Journal Club – 15 February 2018

The Committee on Communications of the IBS invites you to…

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Follow us on Twitter!

Why? To get the latest news about IBS activities as it’s happening!

Join now! It’s easy. Find out how.

Already on Twitter? Our username, or handle, is @IBSstats.

How to join us on Twitter:

Sign up for a Twitter account.

Go to the IBS Twitter page.

Click on the Follow button on the right-hand side of the page.

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Sign in, and once again click on the Follow button.

You’re done! Of course, to receive notifications from us on your smart phone, you will need to download the Twitter app.

IBS is on LinkedIn!

Join Our Group, and Get Connected to Colleagues Across the Globe!

Did you know that IBS has a LinkedIn Group for biometrics industry professionals? Network with your colleagues instantaneously! Post discussions to the Group, and get comments/feedback from group members on their perspectives or experiences. A great benefit of this Group is that it’s a very easy and free way to communicate with your colleagues who live all over world. Being connected to the IBS Group will allow you to see other connection possibilities, as well and broaden your professional network.  The possibilities are endless. Join our Group today by visiting www.linkedin.com and search under Groups for “International Biometric Society”.

Meetings

2018

23 – 15 April
Biostatistics Industry and Regulator Forum
North Bethesda, MD, USA

http://www.diaglobal.org/en/conference-listing/meetings/2018/04/biostatistics-industry-and-regulator-forum

4 – 6 May
The 6th Workshop on Biostatistics and Bioinformatics
Atlanta, GA, USA

math.gsu.edu/yichuan/2018Workshop/

May 28 – June 1
The French Statistical Society
Paris, France

http://jds2018.sfds.asso.fr/

4 – 8 June
2018 Short Course on Causal Inference
Cambridge, MA, USA

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/causal/shortcourse/

24 – 27 June
WNAR/IMS meeting
Edmonton, Canada

www.wnar.org

8 – 13 July
XXIXth International Biometric Conference
Barcelona, Spain

http://www.biometricsociety.org/meetings-events/ibcs/

July 28 – August 2
Joint Statistical Modeling
Vancouver, BC, Canada

http://www.imstat.org/meetings/2018.htm/p>

26 – 30 August
Annual Conference of ISCB and Biennial ASC
Melbourne, Australia

www.iscbasc2018.com

24-28 September
Summer School on Advanced Bayesian Methods – part II
Leuven, Belgium

http://med.kuleuven.be/biostat/

3 – 7 December
Australasian Applied Statistics Conference
Rotorua, New Zealand

17 – 20 December
EMR-IBS conference
Jerusalem, Israel

https://www.emr2018.com

2019

24 – 27 March
ENAR Spring Meeting
Philadelphia, PA, USA

http://www.enar.org/meetings/future.cfm

10 – 12 July
Channel Network Conference
Rothamsted Research, England